Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Atlas Sound @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, February 24th, 2008

After a long weekend of debauchery in western mass, I wasn't too keen on seeing a show sunday night, but since I had already bought the ticket, and have been quite impressed by the free music on their their blog, I knew I had to go. Atlas Sound is the spin-off band of Bradford Cox, who needed another avenue to quench his insatiable creative musical energy. Now, I've seen Deerhunter, and was never really blown away by them live, mostly because their heavy-stoned-psych sound has been done a thousand times before, but Atlas is a different animal. Much like Spencer Krug with his spin-off band Sunset Rubdown, Mr. Cox seems much more comfortable and enthusiastic about playing in the Sound than with his original group. As for the music, when they play classic Atlas tracks, it sounds gorgeous, with all the shoegazey dreaminess we know and love (they tried to improvise a couple of covers, specifically a Blue Oyster Cult song, that didn't come out too well -- you have to practice that shit first dudes!!). Anyway, one advantage to seeing Atlas live is that you can hear all the lyrics, which are excellent, and can get buried in effects on record. Mr. Cox must've been in a good mood because he was practically doing stand-up between songs, bouncing around the stage. His stage banter is unique to say the least. I didn't quite understand what he meant when he asked bandmate Adam Forkner to "take us to the field of gated reverb and shoot us in the back of the head," but it accomplished the desired artistic effect. For their encore, the entire band came out on stage topless (even the lady bassist with all boobs-a-flyin') just to make sure everyone blogged about the show the next day. I was going to anyway dudes, you guys rule! I even bought a shirt. =)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Drug Rug W/ Sam Champion, DJ Awesome GoodTimes @ Bowery Ballroom, February 15th 2008

I always love seeing a friend's band for first time, especially when they blow away your expectations... Drug Rug has a catchy hard-driving indie-rock blues sound, kind of like a modern interpretation of The Beatles "Yer Blues," but with some dual screaming vocals on top. I didn't realize it before the show, but I've hung out with Tommy and George from Drug Rug a few times back when I lived in Boston, but never got the chance to check out their band. Well, I'm sure glad I did... they were great!

Sam Champion notched another milestone in their rise to the top by declaring victory over the Bowery with a solid headlining performance. They consistently throw a good show, and satisfy my occasional desire for loud down-home-and-dirty folk-blues that I can raise my fist to. The Champs have a new album coming out on North Street Records sometime soon, so that should be a good pick up...

This show also brought the debut of the self-proclaimed dj supergroup, DJ Awesome Goodtimes, spinning hits from the likes of The Darkness, Baby Shambles and did I hear an early Strokes tune in there? Either way, they brought the party, and we all got down. Good job dudes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Teenagers @ Studio B, February 2nd, 2008

I was psyched to see The Teenagers, the latest dance-punk buzz-band from across the pond on their first tour of the US, because their catchy, well-produced debut album seemed like it would be fun in a live setting. Unfortunately the bells and whistles (or should I say synths and background vocals) on the album weren't as prominent in the live show, and they came across more like a generic, nervous punk-new-age band, than the sexy enlightened europeans I had hoped for. Still, the night was a success, with Hot Chip spinning some hot dance beats late into the night. And if you've never been, Studio B pretty much turns into the most ridiculous dance party in Brooklyn on a Saturday night. Imagine a 1000 drunk hipsters getting all hot and sweaty on an acre-sized dance floor till 4 am. Yeah, wow. Or should i say gross?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Six Organs of Admittance w/ Mouthus and Mick Turner @ Mercury Lounge, Tues. Jan. 29th, 2008

Openers Mouthus are an artsy stoner-noise duo, with thick, fuzzed-out guitars over combined live drums and an 80's analog electronic drum pad. Incoherent delayed vocals float above the mix to complete the trance-like groove, that I was just a bit too sober at 8pm to fully appreciate.

Tren Brothers, an instrumental collaboration of Mick Turner and Jim White of The Dirty Three, combined the soft ambiance of Yo La Tengo with the melodic variation of Do Make Say Think, over a free jazz rhythm. Jim White, who set up center stage and provided the majority of the rhythmic details, was phenomenal. He's the guy other rock drummers take lessons from, who can play any style, with any musician, and make it look effortless. It's not often you get to hear someone like that play a full set live, and the way he would bend and stretch the tempo kept the music interesting and dynamic. Mick Turner, on guitar, had to carry the entire melody himself, and was quite exposed to any mistakes, but he kept it together, and without the use of any effects, for probably the best show of the night.

Six Organs of Admittance, opened their show with Ben Chasny solo, playing a mix of traditional and flamenco style guitar over 60s-ish psychedelic folk vocals. After three or four songs he was joined by the effervescent Elisa Ambrogio on lead guitar, who adds that missing dynamic that makes Six Organs records so mysterious. With such a sparse arrangement, at times I would grow bored, but overall the show was pleasant and intimate. They closed their set with my favorite song "Home," so I went home happy. =)